Hello everyone, I am super excited that I will be contributing to a monthly column here on Senior Style Guide all about getting found online and marketing.
So a new year is upon us which means a clean slate to reach goals, grow our photography business and become better business owners. Many photographers during this time visit trade shows, clean up their websites and work on finalizing their marketing plans for the new year. Part of the marketing plan most likely involves learning how to get found online or improving your online presence. Some folks call it SEO, I call it Get found online, book more clients and live our your creative purpose. If you own a photography business or any business for that matter, YOU NEED an online presence so here are some tips on how you can get found online in 2015 for your Senior Photography Business.
1) Clean Up. SEO is no longer a stand alone department but involves social media, content strategy and branding. Branding is fundamental to keep the visitor on your website or blog and also to have the right message for the kind of clients you want to book. Review your current brand and make sure it is consistent across all of your online platforms. I don’t mean necessarily go out and do a full out rebrand but you can do some of the following.
- Check if your brand colors are the same all across your online profiles.
- How is your twitter cover? Youtube cover? Facebook Cover?
- Do you have an updated profile picture?
- How is your blog compared to your website?
- How functional is your website? Are all buttons/links working? Can it pass the 10 year old test or mother in law test? Grab your mother in law or an 10 year old and see if they are able to click through your website. Your website must be easy for users to use or else they leave which is bad in the eyes of Google.
- Do you have any new photos to add to your online portfolio? Any new services or products.
- Does your social media accounts have a link back to your profile or blog? Do they have a reference of where you are located like city or state?
Action steps: Do a social media clean up and website clean up.
2) Let’s talk about Text Baby. Although you may have a fancy website with gorgeous design,photos or video, it is important to remember that Search Engines don’t see photos or video but only see text. Text is the foundation for SEO especially if you want local SEO so let’s work on your text. I recommend you start a keyword list for your business. This can be an excel file, notebook or even an app like evernote. Write down the following:
- What do you do?
- Where do you work?
- Which high schools do you photograph students from?
- Do you have a studio?
- What kind of products do you offer?
- What is your style?
- What do they like?
- Where do they live?
- What is their style?
- What do they care about?
- Which high schools are they mostly coming from?
- Do they prefer outdoor or indoor shoots or both?
Once you compile your keyword list it will help you have blog topic ideas and help you add appropriate text in areas such as page titles and description of your webiste. Check with your website platform where the page title and description is located and use keywords there. Also use an SEO plugin for blogging. I recommend the WordPress SEO plugin by YOAST. It will give you a box at the end so you can fill out your page title and description optimizing each blog post. Also add where you are located in as many website pages as you can.
Action step: Create your keyword list. Install the SEO plugin, and add text to your website.
3) Google Business Listing.Google is the biggest search engine in the world so if they have a business listing free service, we should be on there. It is really easy to sign up, go to: https://www.google.com/business/ and follow the directions.If you don’t wish to show your full address, just click that you work on location and it won’t show it. If you have a commercial space studio you definitely want to put your full address. Once you finish following the instructions, Google will mail out a postcard with a pin to set address. Once you verify that pin, your business is listed on Google. Your second step and very important one is to ask for CLIENT REVIEWS. This is vital for local SEO, the more more Google Reviews you have, the better.
Action steps: Set up your business on Google and get 5 Google reviews. Simply ask your clients to Google your business, once they find it, they go and review it.This can be done by Googling your or by looking your business up on www.maps.google.com, Or you can send them to your Google Plus Page as well.
4) Blog more!oh yes.
Most photographers cringe at the idea about blogging more but it is one of the best ways to grow your online presence. The good news is that you don’t have to blog as much as you may think. I recommend 2 blog post a week but if you can do 1, this is fabulous. I know we lack time and are not the best writers but you must commit to blogging if you want to rank better in Google. Since our blogs are updated more it gets more visibility in Search Engines because Search Engines scan the interwebs daily looking for new content. You can blog faster by using Blogstomp’s blogging feature which is great for SEO as well. Set up your blog to be connected and blog right inside of blogstomp. This has helped me speed up my blogging by 50% alone!
But Feuza, what if I am not that busy what in the world do I blog about? I have an answer for that excuse as well. First look at the whole calendar year and pick out which are your busier months shooting Seniors and shooting Senior Reps. For those months you know you will have more shoots to blog about. If you don’t have as many you should blog a cool product you offer, info about your Senior Rep program, local events for teens and parents and of course tips on how to prepare for the Senior Sessions. Some of the most popular posts in the Senior Photography market are poses, ideas and of course what to wear. You can also do an inspiration post styling a dream shoot idea you have. One great way to get blog post ideas is to think of questions you are constantly answering for your customers. You can do a blog post which may be very rankable if its a topic lots of folks are searching for online. Lastly you can also interview other vendors, make up artists tips for teens, a fashion stylist or do a look of the week! This will give you enough ideas to blog for a year! So no excuses, get on to blogging. If you are not a great writer and can’t write 300 words a blog post, write less but publish that blog post.
Action steps: Write down blogging ideas for next 2 months so 16 blog posts total. You can do it! Set your Blogstomp and link to your blog.
If you are brand new to SEO, lay your foundation by adding text to your website and start blogging more. If you have optimized your website and blogs before, blog even more, get your those Google Business Reviews and share your content even more so online. Here is to a great year to be found online!